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Pitt softball reaches ACC final with pair of upset wins over Notre Dame, North Carolina

Photo used with permission of University of Pittsburgh athletics department -

It's been a special season for Pitt's softball team - and it's not over yet. After a couple of upset wins, the Panthers find themselves in the ACC championship game against Florida State on Saturday.

Earlier this year, I took note when the team started a program-best 5-0. I watched a little more closely when they ran their record to 15-2. The team wasn't able to keep up that pace, of course. They got up to 19-2 before dropping five of their next eight games. A few games later, they lost seven of eight, and for a while, it seemed they were coming back to earth. The Panthers rebounded a bit, though, finishing with a 33-19 record heading into the ACC Tournament.

It seems they weren't happy with just making the postseason as a No. 6 seed. On Thursday, Pitt upset third-seeded Notre Dame in what the school called the best win in program history. But even that took a back seat to Friday's win against North Carolina - a 4-0 shutout against the second-seeded Tar Heels. Pitcher Savannah King tossed a four-hit complete game in the Panthers' second upset in as many days.

Pitt has a difficult task ahead of them in facing the Seminoles. Florida State didn't only sweep the Panthers in a three-game series (which was part of that 1-7 stretch I mentioned earlier), but they held Pitt scoreless.

In all three games.

A win on Saturday would get the Panthers into their first-ever NCAA Tournament. And FWIW, the ACC site gives the Panthers a fighting chance to get in even with a loss, actually.

The Seminoles are No. 8 in the nation and enter the title game after wins over Boston College and North Carolina State. Still, despite the tough challenge ahead, this is something that's just great to see. The Panthers' softball program has been a doormat for some time and it's great to see them put together this type of season.

You can watch the game tomorrow on ESPN and WatchESPN at 1:00 p.m.

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